by Michael Hingson and Susy Flory
Nonfiction, 256 pages
Thunder Dog is a book about a blind man’s relationship with his guide dog, Roselle, and how they escaped together from the Twin Towers. Michael Hingson was born blind and throughout the entire book you learn how this never stopped him , but pushed him forward. Forward is also the first command that a guide dog learns. Hingson calmly travels down the hundreds of stairs with his faithful dog at all times. Thunder Dog provides descriptions from events on September 11th, but I wouldn’t say it’s the only focus. The book goes back and forth from Hingson growing up in a sighted world to the long journey down the stairs. He discusses the relationship with his guide dogs, discrimination he encountered, resources that helped him, and his constant determination. If you’re searching for a book that’s only focused on 9/11 with detailed descriptions then this is the wrong book. (Previous review: 102 Minutes is a better choice.) However, if you’re looking for a book with heart that focuses on one individual during a moment of hope then this is your book.
Here are some Guide Dog Wisdom from the book:
What I learned from Roselle on 9/111. There’s a time to work and a time to play. Know the difference. When the harness goes on, it’s time to work. Work hard; others are depending on you. 2. Focus in and use all of your senses. Learn to tell the difference between a harmless thunderstorm and a true emergency. Don’t let your sight get in the way of your vision. 3. Sometimes the way is hard, but if you work together, someone will pass along a water bottle just when you need it. 4. Always, but always, kiss firefighters. 5. Ignore distractions. There’s more to life than playing fetch or chasing tennis balls. 6. Listen carefully to those who are wiser and more experienced than you. They’ll help you find the way. 7. Don’t stop until work is over. Sometimes being a hero is just doing your job. 8. The dust cloud won’t last forever. Keep going and look for the way out. It will come. 9. Shake off the dust and move on. Remember the first guide dog command? “Forward.” 10. When work is over, play hard with your friends.
Michael Hingson (Thunder Dog, page 173)
by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn
I shared 9/11 recommendations for children’s book, so I’ll include a nonfiction book that I finished. 102 Minutes was the first book I read about the events on September 11th. I think this book did a great job providing emotion while also giving facts and details. The book constantly referred to the horrific circumstances similar to those on the Titanic, since it wasn’t just the iceberg that killed the people. The authors discussed in detail about building codes that changed when building the Twin Towers and the inside struggles the individuals encountered, such as stairways blocked, doors locked, and elevators not working. The authors used first hand information from interviews, phone calls, emails, radio communication, and emergency contacts. Individuals had only 102 minutes from the time the first tower was hit to when both towers collapsed. Exact times were given throughout the book. There also were diagrams of the Twin Towers showing exactly where each plane hit, stairways blocked, and exit paths. The book provided emotion, such as details about individuals who risked their life to help others and people working together to survive. I highly recommend this book for a deeply moving experience about the events on September 11th. I finished the book in two days.